Re: Why people still want to encode precomposed letters

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sun Nov 23 2008 - 23:52:25 CST

  • Next message: philip chastney: "Re: Why people still want to encode precomposed letters"

    philip chastney wrote:

    > once a table like that becomes available, your average font designer
    > will stick anchors on all possible base characters, and matching anchors
    > on all likely markings, and import the table into his or her font, as an
    > OpenType table

    But once you have the anchor data, you don't need to build the composite
    glyphs at all: you can use the anchor data to position marks on-the-fly
    using OpenType GPOS lookups. Also, since many marks share common
    anchors, e.g. above-centre, below-centre, etc., you can hit far more
    potential combinations using generic anchor positioning than you can by
    building composite glyphs.

    Some background to these comments might be useful: in 1997-98, Microsoft
    hired me to conduct a research project on glyph-requirements for
    languages using a variety of scripts. The results of his research, and
    the query tool that made use of the data, was presented at the 1998
    ATypI conference in Lyon*. It is as a result of that experience, and
    subsequent font work over the past decade, that I am thoroughly
    convinced that building flexible, dynamic mark positioning data, capable
    of appropriately displaying arbitrary combinations of base+mark and
    mark+mark is not only more sensible that trying to document everything
    that occurs in all the world's texts, but also more realistic.

    * See

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    You can't build a healthy democracy with people
    who believe in little green men from Venus.
                        -- Arthur C. Clark

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